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I'll Have a Green Christmas...

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This year is a fantastic time to give out green gifts, especially if you haven't done your holiday shopping yet! True, it's a little late in the game, but some of us work best under pressure.

The idea is to give gifts that don't increase the size of the landfill, or your carbon footprint, or any of that stuff. The ultimate goal is that no new products are to be purchased. Failing that, go green, go organic, go recycled.

Children are an exception because if they don't get "Monsters vs. Aliens" they will scream and cry all day and nobody wants that. You can be creative with the wrapping, as shown here.

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Ideas for green gift-giving:

Homemade crafts: collages, repurposing and decorating household items, like painting little boxes and decorating them by gluing on little buttons and toys. Rock that glitter!

Memories: Make copies of treasured family photos or type up old family recipes. People will be truly touched to finally get Auntie Jeanette's Secret Lemon Bread recipe.

Edible gifts: Cookie mixes, BBQ spice rubs, candy, etc. True there is some packaging involved, but we can't all be perfect. Wrap the cookies in the chocolate chip bag. Eat the packaging if you must.

Regifting: To heck with Seinfeld. My favorite gift is a book someone treasured. Go through your books, CDs and other collections and think about who might really enjoy that antique scarf more than you do.

Antique stores, thrift stores, Ebay: A treasure trove awaits. Go to town.

Living things: OK, not all living things; not everyone is going to want to take on your pet iguana. But surely you have plants around that you can cut shoots off of, or separate the bulbs to make cute little plants. Wrap it in some old burlap and tie with a straw bow or old gingham ribbon and it's homey as can be!

There are also cool stores like Reform School in Silverlake that specialize in recycled products like beautifully silkscreened old plates and re-worked Viewmaster reels.

And for those of you in a panic, there are a number of green companies that provide overnight shipping, sometimes for free! Little Green Radicals has cute kid's clothes. Gaiam is kind of a hippie meets your mom yoga store. They will take orders today depending on where you live. Nimli has some seriously cute stuff if you call them NOW.

For the truly desperate, hit Trader Joe's and Whole Foods for a nice artisinal cheese basket or an organic wine. Pick me up those chocolate-covered sunflower seeds while you're at Trader Joe's. My stocking will be waiting.

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Now that I think about it, money is used, and it's green!

For more ideas, check out Your Daily Thread and GreenLAgirl.

Photo of recycled seatbelt purse by cck via Flickr

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